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Self-Storage Ban Discussed in Warrenton, OR


Update 10/23/17 – The Warrenton Planning Commission unanimously rejected a zoning amendment on Thursday that would have restricted self-storage development to the east side of U.S. Highway 101. Commissioners agreed with public comments that the plan was too broad and could negatively impact current businesses and future development downtown, according to the source.

The amendment considered was more broad than the proposal Balensifer originally intended. “I’m not against mini-storages in general,” he told the source. “I just wanted to ensure that we preserve at least a few options for reviving the downtown entryways.”

Paul Leitch, who owns a self-storage facility and a sporting-goods store in the Hammond area of the city, argued the ordinance arbitrarily targeted self-storage and wouldn’t resolve the issues Warrenton officials were trying to address. “This ordinance is way too broad,” Leitch said during the meeting. “It is not fair to simply prohibit all mini-warehouse businesses west of Highway 101. My small business in no way interferes with the downtown master plan, and yet the ordinance treats my small business as if [it] were a troublemaker and a blight on the city.”

Real estate developer Jason Palmberg noted the amendment didn’t define self-storage as a use and could impact future mixed-use projects along the highway that might propose self-storage as a component.

The amendment was pushed back to the city commission. Balensifer indicated officials could consider a different approach to self-storage restrictions in the future.

6/30/17 – Warrenton, Ore., officials want to ban self-storage development from some areas of the city. Though Mayor Henry Balensifer recently received consensus among city commissioners to enact a moratorium on self-storage in the area of Harbor St. and S. Main Ave. until city code could be amended to institute a permanent ban, officials continue to debate how they should proceed and which parts of the municipality should be restricted, according to the source.

In a memo to the commission, community-development director Skip Erling said legal counsel had advised against the moratorium due to a “lack of compelling need,” the source reported. He also requested better direction from the commission on which areas of the city should be exempt from future self-storage projects. Erling suggested the city pursue a permanent ban in C-1 zones east of Highway 101.

The commission was expected to discuss the matter on Tuesday.

The move to ban self-storage development is similar to recent moves made by other municipalities, including New York City. The Woodland, Calif., City Council recently passed a 45-day moratorium to prevent any new self-storage facilities from being developed while officials work on new zoning codes that will determine where future projects will be allowed.

Elsewhere, city officials in Margate, Fla., recently extended an existing moratorium on storage development by six months, while Charleston, S.C., officials have looked into tightening restrictions on self-storage, including banning the business use from its urban commercial district near downtown.

Last summer, officials in Lincolnwood, Ill., enacted a one-year, temporary ban on self-storage development in the village’s commercial areas to preserve space for businesses that generate more tax revenue. In December, the village board voted unanimously to remove self-storage as an allowable use within areas zoned for manufacturing and office uses, preferring to preserve those areas for businesses that generate more sales tax.


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